The Science Behind The Day the Earth Stood Still
12.08.08 by reelz
Keanu Reeves and Scott Derrickson
With a senior astronomer at the SETI institute as resident science advisor to The Day the Earth Stood Still, the goal was to make this archetypal tale of aliens come to Earth at least modestly true to science, something not always much of a priority in sci-fi flicks. As the only real scientist on set, Seth Shostak was challenged to keep his fictional counterparts, alien and otherwise, talking -- and chalking -- as plausibly as possible. One key scene involves dueling equations between the alien Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) and Earth scientist Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese). To keep it real, Shostak had the actors trace out some equations from General Relativity. But when it came to the Greek letters, Reeves proved a bit slow on the draw. No problem though. As director Scott Derrickson pointed out, "Hey, Seth, he's an alien!"